Study finds large numbers of teenage boys are coming out to parents

A new study has found that a record-breaking number of gay and bisexual teenage boys are out to their parents, according to The Advocate

As part of an HIV prevention survey, the study polled almost 1,200 of same-gender attracted teenage boys between January 2019 and January 2020. 

Published in the recent Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity journal, the study has demonstrated that more than 66% of teenage boys — ages 13 to 18 — are out to their mothers, while only 49% of them are also out to their fathers. The study acknowledges a significant increase from those that were out in older generations, with only 40% of teenage boys in the 90s being out to their mothers and 30% to their fathers. 

The study also found that the level of comfort with being out to parents varies based on other factors, such race, identity, and religion. It showed that White participants were more likely to be out than Black participants, gay participants were more likely to be out than bisexual participants, and that those from less religious households were more likely to be out than those who were from very religious households.

Lead author David A. Moskowitz, Ph.D., an assistant professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University’s Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing, noted that, while the findings of the study are promising and encouraging, there are still more obstacles to overcome.

 “This study is encouraging in that it shows that many teens, including those under 18 years old, are comfortable with their sexuality,” states Moskowitz. 

“At the same time, we must be cautious, as the data also point to some of the same barriers and discrimination that previous generations have faced. Work still needs to be done.”

He goes on to say: “This gives us an understanding of the factors that move teenagers to share this type of information with the people closest to them. We can now compare these practices with how other generations deal with these issues and think about what it all means for future generations.”

Moskowitz also notes that the study will continue to open more doors for research regarding sexuality within Generation Z — those born between 1996 and 2018. This includes views on coming out among young women. 

“This study provides a road map for such an effort,” Moskowitz said. “In the meantime, these findings should be helpful to those who work with teenagers identifying as sexual minorities.”

BWM Staff

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